In the United States, over three million cases of postpartum depression exist per year. It varies by state, but roughly 1 in 5 women suffer from it.
What is postpartum depression? Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after childbirth. A woman’s hormones quickly drop resulting in drastic mood swings. If you use Google, it tells you that common symptoms include insomnia, loss of appetite, and difficulty bonding with your baby.
I’m here to tell you that that’s not all it is.
Postpartum depression is intense irritability over the littlest things, like an unwashed dish in the sink. It’s the rollercoaster of ups and downs in your mood. You’ll laugh one second and be in a ball on the floor in tears the next. It’s feeling like you’re not a good mother. That somehow you’ll screw up. It’s holding your baby, never wanting to put him or her down and the next second not wanting to pick them up when they’re crying.
It’s not eating for two days because you don’t have the energy to cook and you don’t want to ask for help then the next day you binge eat cookies and popcorn like it’s your job. It’s begging your significant other to wake up in the middle of the night when you haven’t been able to sleep due to your very hungry baby. It’s pure exhaustion but scolding yourself for sleeping too long.
It’s falling apart over being overly emotional. It’s comparing yourself to other moms who seem to have it together while you’re sitting there staring at the directions on how to make a bottle – something you’ve done a million times before.
It’s wondering if you should even be a mother. And it’s hating yourself for even thinking that you shouldn’t be.
It’s not pretty.
I want you to know that there is help out there if this is how you feel as a mother. Only a doctor can diagnose a mother with postpartum depression. If you think you are at risk or you feel like postpartum depression is something you are going through, do not hesitate to contact your doctor. They are not going to judge you. It’s their job to help you. There are treatments, such as medication and counseling.
Reach out. Don’t suffer on your own.
If you or someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression (or regular depression) and is feeling suicidal, contact or have them contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (the number and website will be listed below) or get them to seek medical help immediately.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255